The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Cafe Convection Range Discovery

AlanG's picture

Cafe Convection Range Discovery

We downsized and moved into a three bedroom Condo at the beginning of the year.  Some of the appliances needed to be replaced and we ordered a new Cafe (GE brand) microwave and 30 inch slide in range back in November .  The range was subject to supply change difficulties and did not arrive until last week.  I baked my first sourdough loaves yesterday and was disappointed that they did not come out with a nice deep brown crust; it was more a blonde tan.  I followed the procedure that I developed using a KitchenAid wall oven with true convection:  15 minutes bake at 460F, no convection, with steam (wet towels in a baking pan) and then 17 minutes at 420F with convection, on a baking steel.

It turns out that the Cafe range does not have true Euro convection as it lacks the heating element behind whereas the KitchenAid wall oven does have the extra heating element.  It's probably this way for most slide in ranges as they don't have the extra room that a wall oven does.  However, there is a feature called 'convection roast' that uses heat from both the top and bottom heating elements.  This is supposed to improve browning when cooking poultry and beef.  I'll have to try this out with the next bake to see if I can get the right color.

I would be interested to know of other's experiences with this type of range.  Using a Dutch oven or Lodge combo cooker is out for me as there is no way this senior is going to easily be able to get this in and out of the oven.

MTloaf's picture

My previous oven was a smaller wall oven and non convection. It did a great job of holding steam as well browning in a normal amount of time. Our new home has a large Kenmore with convection like what you described. It had poor recovery time after the door was opened and doesn’t hold humidity in the oven even with convection off. The best and most versatile alternative to a Dutch oven is a Granite Ware roasting pan on a stone. I use two stones in my oven to help with the recovery time one is placed on the top rack to radiate heat to the top of the loaf. The convection roast setting will indeed promote browning but it really dries the crust out with no luster. I used to bake on the lower racks but now I use the middle position. The other thing that seems help was to raise the temperature setting of the preheat and leave it up until I uncovered the loaf. I am still not thrilled with the results so it is a work in progress. My oven has a steam cleaning option that would be nice if I could figure out how to use for bread. These newer ovens seem poorly suited to baking bread.